The Bible is primarily a book of story
It tells the stories of people like us who have made wise and foolish choices, enjoyed love and joy and who have suffered deeply. But the thread that weaves all these stories together is the Great Story of a God on mission to reclaim what has been lost. The Hero of this Great Story is Jesus – and every other story in the Bible makes sense in his greater story.
The Bible is also a book whose plot line is built in absolute truth – so what the Bible has to tell us about us, God, the world – even itself – is true. This means that we believe this Story doesn’t just have insight into the human condition – it has authority to direct us as humans. What it tells us about the important things in life (its doctrine), should guide our thinking and our behavior.
Our goal on this page is to briefly explain what we think the Bible teaches on these core doctrines. Take a look and let us know if you have any questions.
What We Believe about the Bible
God has chosen to reveal himself to us. While he does this generally through the created order, he does it in a special way through the documents that make up The Bible. The Bible is truly a unique and remarkable book.
There are 66 documents (books of poetry, history, prophecy, and instructional letters) that make up our Bible. These documents were written over an almost 2000 year span by around 40 different authors. And yet, these remarkably diverse documents aren’t simply a collection of randomly related stories. They come together to tell a single story of a God who has progressively revealed himself and his mission to us.
The documents of the Bible are divided into two major sections – the documents that were written before the coming of Jesus (the Old Testament), and those that were written after his coming (the New Testament). Since these documents are progressive in their nature (revealing more and more truth as they move forward), we believe the earlier documents are to be understood in light of the later ones. Jesus himself told the disciples on the road to a city called Emmaus that all scriptures were ultimately about him.
God used humans as the conduit for his communication. He chose men to write the documents that make up the Bible. While each document reflects the culture, language, and personality of the person who wrote it, the content of those documents (all the way down to the very words chosen to express thoughts) were directly from God. Thus, the original documents were without error and completely trustworthy.
What We Believe about God
We believe that God is transcendent (beyond our experience and ability to discover or know him), but that he has chosen to reveal himself to us in his creation, in his Word, and in Jesus. This tells us that while he cannot be fully understood, he reveals himself to us so that we can know him and love him.
The Bible reveals God to be the only one eternal being who is both absolute truth and unending love, complete goodness and unlimited power, blinding holiness and welcoming grace. While his attributes may seem to be at odds with each other, God is never in conflict within himself. He always acts in a way that is completely congruous with the totality of his nature. What we struggle to hold in tension (truth and love, for example), exists in perfect harmony in God.
There is only one true God. He is a single essence and nature, a single God, but he reveals to us that he exists in the eternal community of three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. While the three persons of the trinity are unique in personality and role, they are completely equal in essence and nature.
This one true God is unlimited in power, wisdom, knowledge, love, and authority. He is the one true sovereign of the universe, and is weaving all the stories of this life into one great story.
What We Believe about Ourselves
The Bible tells us that God created us in his own image and likeness. When Adam sinned against God in the garden, he died spiritually. His sin alienated him from God, the source of life. As our first father, he represented all of us and as a result, we are all born alienated from God as well. In fact, the whole physical order was affected by Adam’s sin since he acted as its steward and leader.
While we are not all as bad as we could be, we are all as bad off as we could be. Sin isn’t primarily an act – it is first a condition of the heart. We aren’t sinners because we sin – we sin because we are sinners. Our hearts continually seek to replace God by looking to things that aren’t God to do for us what only God can do. The end result is that, on our own, we are utterly and hopelessly separated from God and under his judgment.
God made it clear that it was his mission to re-establish his glory in his creation. The way he would do that would be through the death and resurrection of his chosen deliverer – the messiah, Jesus. The Bible tells us that those who believe in Jesus are made right with God, redeemed from their sin, and are then kept eternally safe in his forgiveness by his power. If you are once forgiven by God and declared right with him based on the death and resurrection of Jesus, you are eternally and absolutely secure in that right standing with God.
What We Believe about Jesus and His Work
Jesus was only the second man to walk the earth who was born without sin. Adam was the first – but unlike the first Adam, Jesus was faithful and obedient all the way to death – even death on a cross. During Jesus life, he made some pretty remarkable claims. He claimed to be eternal, worthy of worship, and the Son of God. His claims earned him the derision and hatred of the religious, political, and cultural leaders of his time.
But he lived a remarkable life to go along with his remarkable claims. He healed the sick. He comforted the hurting. He welcomed the outsider. He also condemned the prideful religious elite. He submitted to earthly authority, while undermining their ultimate authority by claiming first allegiance to his Father. He was a constant comfort and consistently made people uncomfortable.
In the end, he lived the life we should have lived. He walked in absolute freedom – completely submitted to his Father God. Because of that, Jesus was qualified to both be our substitute in judgment (as perfect man) and able to bear that judgment (as eternal God). When he died, he died the death we deserved to die, in our place, as our substitute.
When he rose again, it was proof that Jesus was who he said he was (the Son of God sent on mission from his Father) and that he had accomplished paying for our sin. The rebellion of Adam and Eve and the introduction of death into the created order defined human existence. It separated mankind from the peace God and introduced disruption into every other relationship, even with ourselves. The resurrection of Christ changed everything. When Jesus was brought back to life, it demonstrated to us that our way back to peace with God and experiencing the peace of God has been re-opened to us.
In his resurrection, Jesus won for us a victory we could never gain or claim on our own. In him, we have salvation from death – our eternal separation from God and his goodness. We are restored to a right standing with God. In fact, we are covered with the rightness of Jesus – so God looks at us with the same affection and acceptance as he has for his own Son!
There is nothing left for us to do. There is only a message for us to hear and believe – that Jesus is our champion. When we believe in Jesus, we are immediately and completely made right with God based on the victory of Jesus.
This message of Jesus is called the gospel – a word that literally means “good news.”
What We Believe about the Holy Spirit and the Church
We believe that the Bible teaches that there is one God made up of three distinct and eternal persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. All three persons are equally God and equally unique.
The Holy Spirit is active in our world, pointing people to the person and work of Jesus. He calls people to faith in Jesus, brings them new life, and then indwells them and seals them for God. The Spirit will give those who believe in Jesus special spiritual gifts as he sees fit to equip the church to follow Jesus with the mission of the gospel – and that he can and will give the same gifts today as he did in the early church as he sees fit.
In this process, the Spirit is making a new community of people we call the church. While we often think of “a church” as a building, the Bible speaks of the church as the people of God (the Greek word for church literally means “the called-out people”). The Bible also calls the church the new temple and the bride of Christ. The Bible presents the church as both local (and it is essential to be part of a local church) and universal (made up of all believers of all time).
The Bible says the church should be led by qualified pastors (also called elders) who lead under the authority of Jesus, the true senior pastor of the church. The churches should live on the mission of the gospel and gather for prayer, worship, teaching, and community. The church gathers as well to celebrate the sacraments of baptism of new believers and the Lord’s Supper (also known as communion).
The local church has been entrusted with the message of the gospel. As a result, the church is called to share the gospel with those who are far from God so they too can believe and be restored to life with God. The church is also commissioned to continually call itself to the reality and power of the gospel, so that each person is encouraged to walk in a closer and more transforming relationship with God.
Obviously this isn’t everything we believe about these topics, but it should give you a good start in understanding who we are. If you have further questions, or would like help finding where we get this stuff in the Bible, please contact us. We’d love to discuss any of this further with you!